Exploring Waynesboro: The Best Free Activities for a Memorable Summer
Summer’s here, the kids are home, and there’s certainly no end of fun to be had. But the costs of all that fun can really add up between tickets, admission fees, gear, meals, and snacks. Fortunately, Waynesboro has a lot of free stuff to do. You’ll have so much fun you’ll forget you never opened your wallet. Here’s our guide.
History and Street Arts Walking Tours
To explore Waynesboro’s beautiful and historic Tree Streets neighborhood, download a brochure and take the self-guided Tree Streets Walking Tour. The tour starts at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum. Visitors can see over 400 homes, many built as early as the late 1890s when the Waynesboro Company developed the neighborhood from 151 acres of farmland. This area is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can see homes built in a variety of styles, including Queen Anne, Classical Revival, Arts and Crafts, Tudor Revival, and more. Highlights include the stately homes lining Wayne Avenue, and the oldest homes in the district, Old Stone House (1800) and Rose Cliff (1850).
In addition to its historic character, downtown Waynesboro also has a layer of public art. No longer necessarily rebellious in nature, street art transforms an urban space into something extraordinary. For the past several years, Waynesboro’s Street Arts Festival has provided surfaces to act as canvases for artists working in this medium. To see the art along the Waynesboro Street Arts Trail, download the Traipse app. The app works like a virtual geocache. When visitors arrive at the site, they unlock riddles and questions at each site. The interactive two-hour experience leads visitors to the locations of 20 murals and displays of public art.
Blue Ridge Tunnel
At 4,270 feet, the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel was once the longest railroad tunnel in North America. Excavated in the 1850s with black powder, pickaxes, and hand drills, the tunnel delves under Afton Mountain and was once an important link in connecting railroad lines across the Appalachian Mountains. The tunnel was replaced by a larger tunnel in the 1940s and fell out of use. It’s now been stabilized and opened to the public as a hiking and biking trail with educational plaques teaching about the tunnel’s history. The out-and-back trail totals 4.6 miles, and the tunnel portion is nearly a mile. The tunnel isn’t illuminated, so make sure you bring your flashlight or headlamp! Bring a sweater, too. The tunnel stays in the 50s all year, and you might encounter dripping water.
85-acre Ridgeview Park provides playing fields, tennis courts, and access to the South River. Cast a line from the fishing pier, cross the footbridge to explore nature trails, and let the kids have a blast on the playground while the adults peace out and observe the plants in the botanical garden. If you own a kayak, Ridgeview Park is a wonderful place to put in along the gentle 6.5-mile Waynesboro Water Trail.
There’s lots of room at Constitution Park to run and throw a ball, have a picnic at the pavilion, or sit quietly and look at the river. Take some photos of the gang posing with the fishing-themed LOVEworks sign (voted one of the best in Virginia in 2023!) or catch the free concert series that fills the park with music on Thursday nights throughout the summer. Constitution Park is located along the South River Greenway, a two-mile paved trail used by walkers, runners, bikers, and more that connects the Loth Springs Trailhead to North Park. The Greenway is mostly flat and includes benches, a bike repair station, fitness stations, porta-potty access, and educational signage about Waynesboro’s history and the wildlife that might be seen nearby.
Coyner Springs Park is perfect for people with dogs and discs. The 145-acre park includes a massive, open off-leash area with lots of space for dogs to run and play. Nature trails run through the wooded section of the park as well as the 9-hole Fox disc golf course. A covered picnic shelter lets you dine in all weather.
More Activities For the Kids
Kids' Crafts at the Waynesboro Public Library - Mondays from 11:00 am -12:00 pm through the end of July kids can make a new craft every week!
Free Movies at the Wayne Theatre - Every Wednesday through August 2nd catch a free kid's movie with showings at 10:00 am and 12:30 pm.
Blue Ridge Children's Museum Natural Playground - Bring the kids to the playground! Open everyday from 9:00 am to dusk.
Embrace the spirit of adventure, immerse yourself in the town's history, and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds Waynesboro. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor passing through, these free activities will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the wonders of this charming town. So, plan your summer escape to Waynesboro and discover the delights that await you.